The Ben Simmons soap opera took another just a day after the Philadelphia 76ers started their season with a 117-97 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
After being suspended by the team for refusing to participate in a defensive drill on Tuesday, the former No. 1 overall pick was back at the team’s training facility for a scheduled individual workout.
Instead, Simmons told team officials that he was dealing with a back issue. The medical staff treated the 25-year-old and cleared him for on-court work, but it didn’t matter. Simmons had already exited the building. While he was in the building, he reportedly told team officials that he wasn’t mentally ready to play for the team, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Sixers’ president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, addressed the situation during a radio interview with 97.5 The Fanatic and said he’s prepared to wait a long time for a resolution. Morey said he isn’t about to trade the three-team All-Star for role players because he thinks the Sixers are a championship contender.
On the latest episode of The 30, I shared my thoughts on Thursday’s events. I was also joined by super-agent Leigh Steinberg, who represents NFL superstar Patrick Mahomes, to discuss the ongoing saga between the Sixers and Simmons to get an agent’s perspective on the situation.
I asked Steinberg how he would handle things if his client were in a similar place as Simmons.
“One of the things you’re looking for here is someone from the team’s side to intercede. Players get unhappy and demand trades, all the time, and the public doesn’t know a single thing about it ...
And this is where you hope someone like Jerry West comes in and convinces Kobe and Shaq, that even though they may not particularly love each other, or love being on the same team, that it’s in their best interest to stay there. So, situations like this are prevented all the time by a coach or a general manager having the gravitas and problem-solving ability to smooth over the difficulties and to get people excited about having a new start. So, that’s one of the things that can happen to, To solve the situation. The longer this goes on, the more possible it is for comments to be made and things to be said or actions to be taken that make it more difficult.”
Steinberg has a laundry list of superstar clients. Before the 2020 NFL season, he negotiated quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ record-breaking 10-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs worth $450 million. He has also represented several other NFL stars, including Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Bruce Smith.
Steinberg has been a player agent since 1974 and has negotiated more than $4 billion in salaries for his 300-plus clients. In addition, Steinberg is credited with being the real-life inspiration for the Oscar-winning film Jerry Maguire.
I also asked Steinberg about:
- His thoughts on how the Sixers and Simmons can put aside their differences to find a solution that works for both parties.
- How he would deal with a client who is as unhappy as Simmons.
- How Simmons holding out one year into a five-year deal could impact future negotiations between the NBA and players association.
You can listen to the full episode below:
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